Notions of the Americans
Picked Up by a Travelling Bachelor
By James Fenimore Cooper
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2009
Online Publication Date:August 2011
Original Publication Year:1828
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511703126.017
Subjects: Early republic and Antebellum history , Social and population history
Since my last letter, I have visited New Jersey, the eastern parts of Pennsylvania, and Delaware. With the exception of Maine, Illinois, and Indiana, (quite new slates,) I have now seen something of all those communities, which in common parlance, are called the “free states,” in contradistinction to those which still encourage the existence of domestic slavery. As respects this material point of policy, the confederation is nearly equally divided in the number of states, thirteen having virtually gotten rid of slavery, and eleven still adhering to the system. The difference between the white population, however, is vastly more in favour of the “free states.” We shall not be far out of the way in stating the whole of the white population of the United States at a little more than ten millions. Of this number near, if not quite, seven millions are contained in the thirteen northern, middle, and north western states.
This portion of the Union is governed by the same policy, and its inhabitants seek their prosperity in the same sources of wealth and in the same spirit of improvement. More than half of them are either natives of New England, or are descended from those who were born in that district of the country. Together, the states I have named cover a surface of little less than 300,000 square miles.